tv Weekends With Alex Witt MSNBC September 1, 2012 12:00pm-2:00pm EDT
after the scandal. a rare event in the sky seen around the world. one of the biggest winners ever talks publicly. and fallout from storm isaac, it's not all bad. details on those stories throughout the hour. but first -- just minutes ago mitt romney finished a rally in the crucial swing state of ohio hot on the heels of the republican national convention mitt romney focused on the economy and sharing a message of unity. >> this is a time for us to come together as a nation. we do not have to have the kind of divisiveness and bitterness and recripple will nations we've seen over the last four years. i will bring us together. i'll put in place those five steps i described. america is going to come roaring back. a better future is ahead. it's out there waiting for us. >> nbc's ron mott is joining us from columbus. ron, with a hello to you, what else did moit romney say at today's rally and albeit
briefly. i think some expected a longer speech. but there you have it. >> reporter: hey, alex. we're back in ohio again, we were here last weekend, we're here again. probably going to be our home away from home the next 9 1/2 weeks. this state matters that much. governor romney was in front of an enthusiastic kraud with the speaker of the house john boehner and senator rob portman. he talked about the 23 million folks out of work. he had a line in that speech that says if you have a coach that has zero wins and 23 million will losses, it's time to get a new coach. that sent the crowd into applause. he mentioned the five-point plan, his standard stump sheet about the five things america needs to do, what he plans to do to get the economy moving again. they want to try this last weekend he, this holiday weekend, to make one big push before the democrats sort of take over the headlines and media space next week with their
convention. they'll reunite tonight down in jacksonville, governor romney and paul ryan. >> speaking of paul ryan, he's at quite an interesting football game at this hour. >> reporter: yes, he is. a kickoff to the football season, you'll see just about everybody wearing buckeye red. they're playing ryan's alma mater, university of miami in ohio. obviously ohio state is traditionally a stronger program, but paul ryan wants to be there to be seen with voters and football fans. we don't expect he'll have a lot to say publicly, but he wanted to show support for the if football team. one thing i's talked about is the closure of the jeansville gm plant and whether the president's auto bailout could have saved that plant there. democrats and the obama campaign pushed back thursday morning saying it was an unfair attack on the program because gm announced the closure of that
plant even before the '08 election. that back-and-forth between both sides has continued into the weekend. it's critical to this part of the country, auto jobs in ohio one out of every eight somehow tied to the industry. so paul ryan and mitt romney in the next 9 1/2 weeks will be talking a lot about jobs, specifically manufacturing jobs. >> i love paul ryan is able to work while attending his alma mater's football game. will i'll have to do that with today's hawaii/usc football game. meanwhile, president obama is also on the campaign trail as he readies for next week's democratic convention. a busy holiday weekend for the president, kicking off his road to charlotte tour in iowa. the president will campaign in colorado, ohio and virginia. nbc's white house correspondent kristen welker is traveling with the president. she's live in iowa with the latest. hi to you. is it overcast there? is that what's going on there? is that a little bit of isaac? >> reporter: it is a little overcast, alex, you're absolutely right.
but president obama, the obama campaign, very focused right now on trying to build momentum and excitement ahead of the democratic national convention. they are starting their road to charlotte campaign right here in iowa, and we are told that one of the themes today is going to be to highlight what the obama campaign is calling american heroes, people who have overcome great challenges during this difficult economy, during this difficult time in our nation's history. so we're going to hear from some of them in addition to hearing from the president. as you say, he's going to have a very busy holiday weekend. from here he heads to colorado. 's going to take a little bit of a break from the trail on monday to visit louisiana, to visit with some of the folks who were impacted by isaac. that trip comes on the heels of mitt romney visiting louisiana on friday. by the way, both campaigns saying that there really is no problem with romney having visited the region earlier. the obama campaign pointing to the fact that they really had made their plans prior to
knowing about mitt romney's plans. but then once he leaves louisiana he will be back on the campaign trail and then, of course, to the dnc and that all-important speech that he has thursday night. >> yeah. you know, he's starting this run-up to the dnc in iowa he's been pretty focused on that state. >> reporter: he really has been, alex. this is his seventh visit to iowa this year. he was here earlier this week. i was here with him a couple of weeks agoing during a bus tour. this state holds a lot of significancing for president obama. this is the state that helped launch him to the presidency back in 2008. it has six electoral votes, not a lot, but he thinks it is critical to his overall campaign strategy. and of course it also represents the type of voters he's trying to hold on to, independent voters, white working class voters he needs to turn out for him this election year if he hopes to hold on to the white house. >> kristen, thank you so much with your live report from iowa. mitt romney is enjoying a
convention bounce in a new poll following this week's republican gathering. the new reuters/ipsos poll shows a boost in independent voters. 45% versus 34% before his speech. coming up, the coded messages in the mitt romney campaign that some say are meant to drum up racial will anxieties. that is coming up in strategy talk a bit later this hour. one other political note that could be significant. is it a victory for groups fighting new voting restrictions in ohio. a federal judge reinstated early voting on the three days leading up to the november's election. the governor and legislating tur had decided to cut off early in-person voting the friday before the election day. but a clinton-appointed judge called the deadline arbitrary. ohio officials plan to appeal. >> right now people on the gulf coast are just beginning to assess the impact of what was hurricane isaac.
today power crews are rushing to restore electricity in the region. more than 500,000 people are without service in louisiana. outages are also reported across mississippi and arkansas. our camera flew with the coast guard over louisiana's flooded areas, more than 5,000 people remain in shelters. the storm will is blamed for at least five deaths but there is some relief in mississippi today where lower water levels eased the pressure on a rain-weakened dam. and those remnants are isaac are moving north, bringing the threat of severe weather this labor day weekend. here is a live look at the radar, it's over missouri as it moves into illinois and indiana. the storm is bringing that rain as we mentioned to drought-stricken states. that is where we find the weather channel's julie martin, live for us in taylorville, illinois, by what looks like a pretty dried-out corn crop there. what are the conditions like where you are? >> reporter: yeah, absolutely. will well, alex, some of the heavier rain has now moved up to the north, the remnants from isaac. but we got a pretty good dosing. but, yeah, as you can see, it's
really a little too late. not going to help out this 0 year's corn crop a whole lot. these stalks are bone-dry and this area has only received about two inches of rain since june 1st. it's just not going to be enough but it will help on other levels. in fact, the soybean crop here in indiana, illinois, still growing so they could be helped out by this beneficial rain. and also the ground table, the water levels are so low, those those have come up and it should help plantings for next year. you mentioned the potential for severe weather with this. we will see that from portions of central illinois in through indiana and toward the ohio valley tomorrow as well. it's not quite over yet, but the benefits that isaac is doing here may be more emotional than any as these farmers have struggled through such a long, hot, dry summer. fortunately, they're starting to see a little bit of relief. >> as you said, the emotional
quotient there very important for the farmers living with this drought for way too long. thank you, julie. we appreciate it. a louisiana man is now searching for his sailboat that turned to sea and disappeared during isaac. news cameras captured the unmanned sailboat cruising the waters near dauphin island, alabama. it knocked out electricity to the island. the vessel then mysteriously headed to sea and has not been seen since. the captain who won't give his name says he was forced to ground the boat and await rescue. >> reporter: what would you do differently now if you had to do it over again? >> my engine, it was pouring black smoke so i shut it down immediately. i attempted to crank that engine one more time to power me under that bridge. >> reporter: you're still looking for your boat. >> yes, i am. >> well, isaac has moved on and power to the island has returned, but the sailboat, nope, still out there. west coast headlines are next. one of the most controversy figures in the immigration fight
is off the hook. plus, it's a book called "what's the matter with white people." we'll speak with the author about what she means next on "weekends with alex witt." [ male announcer ] this is rudy. his morning starts with arthritis pain. and two pills. afternoon's overhaul starts with more pain. more pills. triple checking hydraulics. the evening brings more pain. so, back to more pills. almost done, when... hang on. stan's doctor recommended aleve. it can keep pain away all day with fewer pills than tylenol. this is rudy. who switched to aleve. and two pills for a day free of pain. ♪ [ female announcer ] and try aleve for relief from tough headaches.
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pp pp some hi. some headlines on the west coast. the federal government halting the inquiry into maricopa county sheriff joe arpaio. the investigation began four years ago after local officials complained about him abusing his power. he is a republican. the big headline for the seattle times reads 040 days without rain. the dry spell is 11 days from setting a rain. the last record was set in 14.
all will though the city is famous for damp weather dry summers are typical. in medford, oregon, he is a winner. about a white city man who received one of the biggest awards in publispublisher's cle house. he plans to buy his tad a new house. that is a good son. time now for front page politics. two days later and everyone is still talking about clint eastwood's bizarre performance at the rnc. with articles on the cover of today's "washington times" and "new york times" in fact. but the more important stories out of tampa may be mitt romney's courting of women voters and new angle on the economy. joining me, joan walsh, editor at large for salon.com msnbc political analyst and all thor of the newly released "what's the matter with white people." also perry bacon with the grio. welcome to you both. good to have you. joan, i'll begin with you.
in your latest column you write most of mitt romney's speech was aimed at the undecided voters, all of those outside the coffin vengs floor. how do you think that message was received? >> i think people were with still so stunned from the clint eastwood segment they really didn't have time to pause and recover and focus on mitt romney. that was unfortunate for him. i think he did a decent job connecting and talking to disaffected obama voters saying we all wanted him to succeed. of course that's not true. the house republicans planned from day one to obstruct him. but sounding a nice inclusive tone and sort of more in sorrow than anger, you had such high hopes, what happened to them. but the speech really wasn't about anything that he would do for undecided voters or for the middle class. so it was really -- i don't know that there was anything for people in the end to grab on to. >> no meat. >> there was no meat in terms of policy so i think people just kept talking about clint
eastwood. >> interesting assessment. perry, you write that mitt romney's speech shows unemployment is the path to the whies house. considering the state of the economy, why then is he not leading in the polls? >> it's a great question. the thing you see in the polls is the majority of americans don't think obama has done a great job of managing the economy. at the same time, the majority of americans support obama for president. he's leading the polls of course. what it tells you is a lot of voters are convinced that -- they like the president enough they're going to trust him to imwill prove the economy and romney has not made the sale in terms of saying why the voters should effectively fire the president over the economy. the speech last night -- on thursday tried to get at that, but like joan said, the details still kind of missing in terms of exactly how mitt romney would reduce the unemployment rate, the details still not there. >> perry, you also write that one of the take aways from mitt romney's speech is he really, really wants the women's vote. did he get any closer to getting
that thursday night and do you agree with those there was also a sense of pandering to try to get the vote? >> i thought in one moment where he sort of listed, my chief of staff is a woman, ann romney, condi rice, he sort of listed every woman that supported him i thought in kind of an awkward way. that said, the key thing is women tend to be democrats because their positions on issues are more democratic and liberal often. will they're more likely to support funding for education, more likely to support tax increases. i'm not sure naming and listing women who like you will change his position on the issues, and that's making sure obama leads women by ten points in most of the polls. >> with ann romney and her big speech tuesday night being part of all of this get the female vote, what is your reactioning to her speech. >> you know, she did fine. we shouldn't be too critical of the spouse. they aren't the candidate. but in terms of being that emissary we were told she would be the person who made mitt more
human, but it was clear she was the person sent out to say, we love you women, i love you women. which was a little bizarre. and she also has that tendency, i am now going to learn to suppress, where she spent a lot of the speech using her fingers and pointing her fingors and waving that finger hes she can sound like she's sort of demanding. she did this with the latino caucus, too, where she's sort of demanding we support mitt or mitt is entitled to our support. so i don't think in the end -- i think women as perry says vote on policy, are more liberal. i don't think in the end people are going to come around because ann rock ne says, we love you women. >> that whole we love you women vote, women line, do you think there was a sense of pandering there? i think she's the one who's almost gotten the most criticism that way for those who are clamoring that. >> i do. it's not about whether you love us, politicians love us, it's really your policies. as perry said, it's not mainly about choice or reproduction except that the republicans have
made those issues so central. i think they're going to matter more. she's really stuck with that. you know, she gave money to planned parenthood in 1994. you know that she and, oh, i just pointed my finger, and mitt romney don't necessarily believe the hard-line stuff in the platform, but they didn't fight it. so they're sort of talking about how they care about women but not really doing anything about it. i think that's going to hurt in november. >> perry, you wrote in another piece that condoleezza rice's speech was one of the most important in the convention. what do you think her role is in a potential romney administration? >> she doesn't have one. she already said she's not willing to be secretary of state and national security adviser again. if romney had picked her to be vice president, that would have changed the electoral dynamic. she appeals to women, may appeal to african-american. condi rice is almost too qualified for any other job besides vice president in administrati administration. i think it's interesting to see what she will do next.
she always says she won't in involved in politics. the people in the room liked her speech. makes me think she's considering a run for governor, senator. the republican party still wants some prominent african-american woman fwh the front lines and she's kind of the most qualified person to do that right now. >> perry, thank you so much. i appreciate you weighing in on all of this from d.c. i'm going to ask joan to stick around because she has a great new book, i am loving the title because i have to get you to explain it as i point to you. the new book is called "what's the matter with white people: why we long for a golden age that never was with." give me the thesis of this book. >> the thesis is white people right now are the most pessimistic and concerned about the future than any other racial group. i think the title is getting a lot of attention partly because of the republican convention being about 90% white but also i think because people really aren't used to white people being p discussed as the racial
group. we are the americans and everybody else has a hyphen and descript descriptor. i think part of the discussion is, hey, you can't talk about white people but we're starting to because we're just one racial group in a multiracial america. >> you saw you mitt romney during the convention try to play up the no, sir tall gentleman of the past. >> that's what the golden age in the subtitle is about. part of it that's so vexing for democrats i think, alex, is that the middle class doesn't really get the extent to which the government created the middle class, that we made decisions in the aftermath of world war ii and the great depression out of fear as well as out of optimism that we were going to flatten income and equality and create a middle class. we raised taxes. we put in place a series of programs that widened opportunity, even unionization, we made it much more easy to unionize and people took advantage of it. we had the gi bill which made college and homeownership more possible to more people. and outside of the gi bill we built roads, ensured home
mortgages. we built public universities. so a lot of the white middle class has this notion that they did it all by themselves. that's not entirely true. then people who are not white know the extent to which they were left out of a lot of those praxs. so you have the argument about, you got help, no, you got help. because in the '60s, the white people began to view the civil rights movement about more for help for other people and not for us and we have this divide. >> i know you went into it, you obviously had thought about this idea, it percolated for some time. your father had attended -- what was that? >> the hard hat riot. >> right, right. so all of this happened. but was there anything in writing the book that you found you changed perspective at all? >> my father i should say was not part of the hard hat riot. >> didn't he -- >> he was attending the peace march that resulted in the backlash from the hard hat rioters. and you know i think i became somewhat more compassionate to the white middle class.
i tell the story about how my family divided, a lot of my family went to join the reagan democrat coalition and are now staunch republicans. i don't know we can ever win them back. but i saw the extent to which the white middle class flight from the democratic party was a little bit the result of fear of the changes of the '60s and some of the disorder of the '60s but also a perception that the democratic party had left their issues behind. and it's true to some extent that the democratic party stopped emphasizing issues of broad economic populism and reminding people that we built the middle class and democrats started joining ronald reagan and joining government and saying, oh, yes, government is the problem. will we agree. so what's the choice between these two parties? you're going to go to the party that appeals to you culturally and tells you your problems are all about those other people getting something you're not getting. >> i'd love to say thank you to the author joan walsh. we'll have our director put up another j-peg with what they can see. "what's the matter with white
people." most intriguing. sounds like a good one thank you. >> thank you. now to number two to our list of the top five web stories. a rare blue moon in the skies last night. if you waited, you'll have to wait until 2015. blue moons are defined as either the fourth full moon in a season or second full moon in a month, not referring to color. including behr ultra, now through september 5th.
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>>a minute, mom! let's broaden the world's energy mix. let's go. welcome back to "weekends with alex will witt." just past the half hour now. it's ahard to believe it's been 15 years since princess diana was killed. she was called the people's princess and her legacy lives on, her life celebrated. nbc's dunn dan goal stauny is in lond london. hello to you. how is the princess being remembered this week? >> princess diana really isn't talked about as much as she once was. but i went to kensington palace her former home and people were laying flowers. it was clear their memories of diana remain fond and affectionate. the imwillages familiar, the mem willries vivid. princess diana's admirers still turning out to celebrate her
remarkable life 15 years after her death. >> she will never be forgotten. she was just a wonderful person. >> remembered for her charity work, meeting aids patients and for her beauty, the shy teenager who turned into a style icon. >> she's what you call a diamond. she had a diamond smile and diamonds never disappear. >> the grief from her death in paris may have faded, but tra in the princess remains. naomi watts spent the summer striking those familiar poses for the first big diana movie, introducing the world's most famous princess to a whole new generation. >> she's passed from being this so present in our lives to being iconic, almost historic figure. >> but diana's influence can still be felt in her sons william, so strikingly similar to his mother, and harry with that popular touch that diana first brought to the royal family. both sharing her personality, caring, independent, and, yes,
sometimes a hint of mischief. >> i think very much princess diana installed in both william and harry the notion of giving back to pay for your privilege. also she made them the boys they are today and they've kind of gone their own way. of they aren't dictated to by the gray suits of the palace. >> look at diana's influence on other members of the royal family, more relaxed in public, happy to let their guard down. it's a legacy no one could have imagined 15 years ago, a fitting tribute to the woman adored and missed by so many. obviously she remains in the thoughts of her sons. last week it was announced that when prince william and katherine go on a tour of southeast asia they will see an named after diana in singapore she never had a chance to see. >> one of the many, many tributes to her around this world. thank you very much. in today's strategy talk, what mitt romney's speech tells
us about the rest of his campaign and how president obama will have to counter it when he takes the podium at the dnc on thursday. joining me is jonathan alter, msnbc political analyst and joe watkins, republican strategist and former aid to president jrn george h.w. bush. jonathan, i'll reach out first because the title of your most recent column, what you call dog whistles in the romney campaign. the secret messages to drum up racial anxiety? >> they're not quite secret. in the moerntd era it goes back to richard nixon when he would talk about law and order, for instance, it would mean he was trying to appeal to the fears of white middle class voters about crime in the united states or about the maybe some of the parts much the civil rights movement they didn't like. and then when with ronald reagan would talk about welfare queen, same thing, a coded racial
message. so what are the messages this time? well, the most important one is in the ads that the romney campaign is doing on welfare. these ads are inaccurate but making it sound as if president obama wants to, quote, send them a check, just send them a check. welfare recipients. more than half of all of their ad budget is dwoeevoted to thes ads. now, they toned that down at the convention because that so obviously is a racial subtext. they toned that down, but they do have a couple of other things that still will do conjure kind of the same deal, both paul ryan and mitt romney said in their speeches that money was going to be raided from medicare to pay for obamacare. >> i heard that. >> what that's code for is, hey, white senior citizen voter, your money is going to be taken and given to possibly black minority, uninsured, poor people. that plays on their fears that their money is going -- now,
it's actually not true because obamacare actually expands care for seniors with prescription drugs and so forth, but it works very well at that subconscious level. >> definitely plays to fear. subconsciously, exactly. hey, joe. >> hi, alex. >> you hear the conversation about well will fair ads, birth certificate jokes. you tell me why jonathan is wrong and romney is not making an updated southern strategy. >> i'll be happy to. jonathan alter is one of the smartest man i know so i would never say that jonathan doesn't know what he's talking about. but i will say this. one of the reasons why a campaign practically would not run a racial campaign because you can't win in 2012 will with that kind of campaign. in order to win in today's world you have to reach everybody. if you look at the fact that what this race is about are the swing states, the states in play, states like north carolina, virginia, ohio, pennsylvania, florida, those are states where there are large
minority populations, black people, brown people, senior citizens. in order to win, for romney to win, he has to win those states so he can't afford to turn off any segment of the populous, he can't have a secretly or subtly racist run. the majority of welfare people are white. romney's been talking about the obama move to push back on bill clinton's advances with well will fair reform. that's what those ads are about. >> but most people don't know that most people who get food stamps, for instance, are white. they still are working off the old stereo teaches. i agree with you that an explicitly racial campaign would clearly fail. that's why it's done in code that works at a dog whistle level. why are they doing this? because they're losing so badly among women an latinos and obviously among african-americans that the romney campaign has to maximize
its turnout among particularly white male working class voters. they already have a big lead over obama among that group. they need to expand their lead in order to win this election. and that's why they're going to the well things like this welfare ad. obama is not doing anything to undermine work requirements that were in bill clinton's 1996 welfare reform program. the fact checkers have all agreed, this ad is completely inaccurate. why are they running it, joe, if not trying to appeal to people's fear about well wifare and tap some of those themes? >> it's not fair about welfare. what bill clinton did that was good is he had a requirement for people to perform some kind of meaningful work because the studies show that meaningful work leads to actually people becoming employed. >> absolutely. >> that is good for america. we want more americans to be
gainfully employed, especially african-americans. that was a good thing that president bill clinton did, and he happened to be a democrat and it was a good thing. so mitt romney thinks it was a good thing and he disagrees with president obama on this issue. >> but why does he disagree with him? obama is not undermining bill clinton's achievement. he's not. it's just a distortion and all the fact checkers have been very, very clear on this. of the neutral independent fact checkers. the ad is not true that somehow barack obama and his administration wants to, quote, just send them, them being well will fair recipients, a check with no requirement for work. no true. >> quick response, joe. >> yes. well, i hope, of course, that -- we know in the heat of the battle oftentimes ads paint a picture that may not be completely accurate. and we've had fact checks on both sides of the aisle to dispel what both campaigns have said about the other. the hope is that people will see truth for what it is, and mitt romney knows that in order to
win if he's going to win those critical swing states he's got to relate to african-american voters, to hispanic voters, senior citizens, to white democrats, to undecideds. he's got to relate to everybody. so his message is to all americans like it was the other day. he made the point the other night he wishes that president obama had succeeded so that we'd have a better america. >> well, that's completely untrue. we know from the beginning in 2009 he didn't wish him well on his economic program. >> guys, i've got to go. interesting conversation. look at all the questions i intended to talk about. we'll have to come back. guys, thank you. today's office politics, journalist and msnbc political analyst richard wolf takes a look at. >> would well, it's not whoo it used to be. where is the drama and the numbers are down and who really cares? all of that's true, but it's still a unique opportunity for
the campaigns to take a hold of the news cycle and everyone's attention and it's not quite an etch a sketch moment but it is a moment where they can say, this is what we stand for, this is the candidate, the nominee, and pay some attention. there is a bump that you can and should expect, and it's especially important for a new nominee, right? it's one thing for a president going for reelection, but for someone who is relatively new to the national stage like mitt romney, although he's been campaigning for a long time, people still don't know who he is, what his wife looks like. >> why do we not have a better sense, though, of mitt romney and ann romney, after six years of campaigning? >> well, partly it is because he hasn't had a national position. but it's also because mitt romney has changed a lot in that time, and, you know, he will say he's evolved and his positions have changed since he was not just over the last six years but
more since he was massachusetts governor. but his positions have changed over time. his approach to campaigning has changed over time. even from 2008 to now. >> ann romney's speech, did she bring her husband to a more intimate level with the public? >> right. i think -- look, it's always hard for a spouse. it's hard when they're not running for office but they're expected to perform at the level of someone who is running for office. but she did get into a rhythm and she certainly gave endearing testimony about their relationship. the problem for romney is that, as strong as his family picture is -- and we do have a good sense of family from him, from his wife, from his sons -- they haven't connected that to his public persona. they ended up having to do and what ann romney did was say he's a great man in private and just
expect the same in public. the problem for mitt romney is that, when he was massachusetts governor, he was much more moderate, he enacted health care reform, and health care reform, his biggest achievement in public office, is something that literally nobody wants to talk about at the republican convention. >> how about the paul ryan factor? do you think that bought mitt romney enough? >> well, i think it buys him a lot. it buys him enthusiasm, the grass roots, sort of the validation of what kind of politician he is. and honestly paul ryan's ideas are radical. they're not moderate conservative with a small "c." these are, as newt gingrich called them, these are right-wing social engineering. these are ambitious things. you can agree with it or not, but they are ambitious. a lot of people find that courageous on the right. obviously a lot of people on the left find it scary.
so it's a validator for him, but it also underscores how i think the "new york times" described this, how people in the party see mitt romney as a transitional figure. even if he wins, that maybe he's just someone who represents a bridge from where the party was to where it's going to. and paul ryan i think for a lot of republicans and conservatives represents where the party is going to. >> how about the debates, might those be energizing to get people up off the couch? >> i think the debates are actually much more likely than the conventions to get people focused on who these people are and what the choice really is. that's the last window of this. and that dominates october. there's only one other event that's really going to affect things, the debate in october, and that's going to be mitt romney's tax returns. between his new tax return and the three debates, that's october. and that's the end of the election. >> tomorrow in office politics,
richard will preview the action in charlotte and share the challenges of writing these two books about president obama. now to number two on our first five web stories, penn state's new era of football. right now the team is playing ohio university, their first game of the season. but last night at least 15,000 students and alumni gathered for a pep rally, the first game without joe paterno since 1949. it was an emotional outlet for fans who stood by the players behind sanctions it including a four-year bowl ban that follows the conviction of jerry sandusky of child sex abuse charges, of course. i don't have to use gas. i am probably going to the gas station about once a month. drive around town all the time doing errands and never ever have to fill up gas in the city. i very rarely put gas in my chevy volt. last time i was at a gas station was about...i would say... two months ago. the last time i went to the gas station must have been about three months ago. i go to the gas station such a small amount that i forget how to put gas in my car. ♪
gives you a 50% annual bonus. and everyone, but her... likes 50% more cash. but, i have an idea. do you want a princess dress? yes how about some cupcakes? yes lollipop? yes! do you want an etch a sketch? yes! do you want 50% more cash? no you got talent. [ male announcer ] the capital one cash rewards card. with a 50% annual cash bonus it's the card for people who like more cash. what's in your wallet? i usually say that. now to must see/must avoid, new at the box office this weekend, a band of bootlegging brothers' loyalty is tested in "lawle "lawless". >> my daddy says you boys are the worst thing ever to hit franklin. >> you tell your daddy i said hi. >> charming, shia labeouf and tom hardy, the film inspired by a book.
does it do the original story justice? that's the question for e correspondent alyicia corals. >> hi. >> what do you think, must see, must avoid? >> this is a must see. the script leaves a little to be desired but tom hardy is so, so good. so is jessica chastain. you have to see it. >> also hitting theaters, "for a good time call." one-time enemies ending up as roommates? >> this is must avoid. there's been so many good comedies but it falls flat. it's raunchy, has jokes you don't get, women who become phone sex operators, must avoid. >> i saw a triler for it and i was like, not so much. >> exactly. >> shifting to the small screen here, a lot of talk about this tlc reality show "here comes honey boo boo. did you see the ratings this week? >> huge ratings. >> ridiculous. >> alex, this is a must-see, at least one episode just to be in on the conversation. this is about honey boo boo,
that littled toler on toddler and tiaras got her own spin-off show. they say things like redneckmatize, a sector a lot of us don't know about it. >> am i going to hate this like "the jersey sthor". >> i feel like this child is being exploited. it's a car crash, you want to watch. one episode. >> i don't know. thank you. a man calling himself a hill billy is waking up as a multimillionaire. dawn lawson came forward to claim the biggest power ball ever, close the $41 million lump sum payment. >> it was put in my bible, then under my couch it was put on top my refrigerator. it was with put numerous places before i was able to put it in the bank. >> guess what, the father of two says he is quitting his job. a awesome!
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. well, congratulations to those guys. some uninvited guests are the talk of the shore this unofficial last weekend of summer. sharks forcing people to stay out of the water in parts of cape cod. one man was attacked earlier this summer. experts say sharks don't like the taste of humans but are attracted to the seals in the area. so no going into the water there. what president obama knows now, after his first term and running for his second, a conversation aboard air force one. >> ght? no. all right. mom! look what i found in the shed! no! no! no! ♪ ew! were you guys just making out in here? what? no! is it okay if i quit my job and start a blog? no. really?
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trail this hour where both president obama and mitt romney. first just a short time ago mitt romney finished a major rally in a key swing state. governor romney met with voters in cincinnati, ohio, looking to keep up the momentum from the republican national convention and focusing squarely on president obama. >> one of the promises he made was he was going to create more jobs. and today 23 million people are out of work or stopped looking for work or are underemployed. let me tell you, if you have a coach that's zero and 23 million, you say it's time to get a new coach. >> meanwhile, governor romney's running mate paul ryan also in ohio but attending the miami university ohio state football game in columbus. they head to a rally together in jacksonville later this afternoon. joining me now is nbc's peter alexander. good day to you, peter. what did you hear as the main message at today's rally? >> reporter: just as you noted,
spending the morning in ohio, the evening in florida have made it clear where they're sort of making their case in the two key swing states they think are going to decide this election in many cases, spending the morning in ohio, that miami of ohio game is paul ryan's alma mater, he thought that may build a connection with the community there. wisconsin another state they're hoping to take advantage of as well, paul ryan's home state. but he thinks his college connection may help in ohio. when romney and ryan get to jack sochbville, this is it a red part of the state, a conservative area, where they will try to hammer home the economic message both romney and ryan made in their speeches to the rnc a couple of days ago. earlier today we heard from john boehner, he was speaking and trying to help connect romney with the people of ohio. one of the challenges, of course, for romney is the empathy, people don't think he cares about them as much as president obama does. john boehner saying romney, in his words, one of the most sincere, honest, decent human beings to walk on the face of
the earth. so they hit the economic message at home targeting the president and also trying to make a personal connection with the people of ohio and florida as well. >> so when they get to jacksonville, i remember well having been there when president bush was there, as you say, a big red part of the state, the president campaigning during his reelection. what can we expect there? the big bands, that kind of thing, or are they really all about touting message right now and lots of talk? >> reporter: yeah. no, they're trying to stay as on message as they can be right now. obviously with the distraction at the clint eastwood remarks just a couple of days ago, they're trying to focus back on their biggest point of difference against the president, saying they're better equipped to fix this economy. this is a part of the state where a lot of people have complained about challenges about unemployment. they're trying to make the case they're the ones to turn things around. in conversations i've had with advisers lately, they say anything else you talk about, whether it's clint eastwood, some argument the president is
making about anything else, they say at the end of the day people's decisions it will be made by the economy. their hope is not to cede ethe spotlight heading into the democratic national convention but to continue with the attacks and travel and with the campaigning. it's been tradition in the past that campaigns would basically shut down when the other candidate held its convention. obviously president obama did not do that this past week, and romney and ryan have no intention of doing that in the week lexander, many thanks. today president obama is kicking off his road to charlotte tour before the democratic convention that starts tuesday. the president campaigns today in iowa, sunday colorado, ohio, virginia on tuesday, all battleground states. nbc news white house correspondent kristen welker is racking up the frequent flier miles and she's with the president in irvin dale. hi, kristen. >> reporter: good afternoon,
alex. it's symbolic that the president is kicking off his road to charlotte tour in iowa, a state that obviously holds a lot of significance for president obama. it helped launch him to the presidency back in 2008. it also really represents some of the voters that he needs to win over or win back and hold on to in this year, white working class voters, independent voters who may feel disappointed in the economy right now, feel as though it's not getting back on track quickly enough. i'm going to step out of the way, alex, so you can see the scene behind me here at this rally in irvindale. you can see folks starting to gather, getting in place right now. we are listening to a band called the national, and this is the living history farm. so a lot of folks coming out to hear what president obama has to say on this saturday. this entire weekend and week is crucial for the president. he's really trying to build momentum and excitement heading into the democratic national convention ahead of his
all-important speech that he's going to deliver on thursday. he will step back from the campaign trail and travel to louisiana on monday, alex, to talk to the folks who were impacted by hurricane isaac, to meet with officials there, to survey the damage. of course, his trip comes on the heels of mitt romney's trip. mitt romney traveled there on friday. the white house making the point that president obama had his plans in place before he knew about mitt romney's plans. but once he finishes in louisiana, he is right back on the campaign trail heading to ohio and virginia, as you pointed out, and then to charlotte for the dnc. alex? >> kristen, do we know about the state of the president's speech on thursday, if it's still a work in progress, what he may be doing or leaving to his speech writers? i always love hearing that behind-the-scenes stuff if you have any insights? >> reporter: absolutely. it is so fascinating. it is still a work in progress, according to my sources. white house press secretary jay carney telling us that president obama is engaged in the writing and the preparation of the speech. he is working with his speech
writers on this behind the scenes while he's off the campaign trail. of course,s this is a hugely important speech in part because mitt romney, according to political analysts, really did largely what he needed to do, which was to show his more personal side, also quite effective making the case president obama has disappointed some voters. president obama will need to counter that in his speech and carney told us one of the themes you're going to hear is what we hear on the campaign trail, president obama will try to make the case again that he is really the person to protect the interests of middle class voters. >> kristen welker, many thanks for the live report from iowa. onether political note and it could be significant. it is a victory for groups fighting new voting restrictions in ohio. a federal judge reinstated early voting on the three days leading up to november's election. the state's republican governor and legislature had decided to cut off early in-person voting on the friday before election day but a clinton-appointed district judge called that
deadline arbitrary. state officials in ohio say they plan to appeal. the recommend will namnants bringing a threat of severe weather and moving north. the system is over missouri, moving into indiana and illinois, kentucky getting drenched, too. the storm is expected to dump heavy rains and blow pretty strong winds. but the downpours will fall in the drought-stricken states. the rain could help farmers growing soybeans but may be too late for the majority of the corn crop. in louisiana, isaac left behind muggy conditions and a whole flood of problems. today in la mraus, just west of new orleans, homeowners are assessing the damage, many not knowing where to begin the cleanup. we're there in louisiana. in terms of the flooding, gabe, it looks like the waters have gone down a bit in the last six will hours or so. >> reporter: that's right, alex. the waters have been going down in parts of louisiana. here in la plas there are still
several inches you can see. it's really not safe for most vehicles to get past us. we've seen pickup trucks trying to make it through. the big story is the power outages. power crews are coming in to help. the number of power outages on the gulf coast, in louisiana it's down to 395,000 people without power at this plaoint. in mississippi, about 13,000, arkansas about 2,600. in all, still more than 400,000 people without power in the gulf coast. with these hot, sticky conditions, it's been a very difficult cleanup for a lot of people. we spoke with one man yesterday who says this is it the -- will be the touchest and most difficult cleanup he can remember. >> we really haven't had a chance to sit and talk about any of that yet or figure out what we've lost. we don't know. we'll worry about it later. going to have a lot of heartache to get through this.
>> reporter: and yesterday at one point 71% of people in the new orleans area were without power, again, new updated numbers still more than 400,000 people without power throughout the gulf coast. about 395,000 in louisiana. some local officials here are frustrated saying the power companies should be working harder to get the power back on. but the main power company here says it might be into next week before those residents get that power back. alex? >> nbc's gabe gutierrez, thank you very much. sobering reality of what's going on there. as many as 10,000 people who stayed at yosemite national park may be at risk from the deadly haunt ta virus carried by mice. six people who stayed in lodging tents in the park became ill. two have died. the tent cabins are closed indefinitely as officials try to keep out the virus-carrying deer mice. up next, a new poll on mitt
romney's likability after his convention speech. did he say enough to convince more people to vote for him? you're watching "weekends with alex witt." mid grade dark roast forest fresh full tank brain freeze cake donettes rolling hot dogs bag of ice anti-freeze wash and dry diesel self-serve fix a flat jumper cables 5% cashback signup for 5% cashback at gas stations through september. it pays to discover. ♪ atmix of energies.ve the world needs a broader that's why we're supplying natural gas to generate cleaner electricity... that has around 50% fewer co2 emissions than coal. and it's also why, with our partner in brazil, shell is producing ethanol - a biofuel made from renewable sugarcane.
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james taylor. a new poll today shows some gains in the wake of the republican convention. the new poll shows 31% of registered voters find governor romney likeable following his speech thursday night, a five-point jump. joining me now, washington bureau chief of the "washington post" ryan grim and chief correspondent for the national journal, michael hirsh. thanks for joining me. michael, i'll begin with you. we're seeing a slight bounce in the polls particularly among independents for mitt romney. how long might any bounce last? >> well, romney had better hope that it lasts longer than this coming week when obama will give what is expected to be his usual rousing speech in the giant stadium filled with people because there's a serious likability gap in this race. it has been one of the things holding romney back, as we've seen these deadlocked polls continue month after month begin romney and obama. likability, this question of who
he is, the mystery about romney, his past, his business practices has been compounded by a sense that he's a little robotic, little stiff. and i think he did effectively deal with that in what was i think generally considered to be a very well-performed, delivered acceptance speech on thursday. >> how about the female voting bloc, ryan? the last vote before the rnc showed mitt romney trailing rather significantly among that group. did anything at the convention help move the needle at all? >> condi rice gave a spectacular speech and they brought out as many women as they possibly could. i think the only female gop governor that didn't speak was jan brewer. every other one got a prime-time spot. and you had ann romney famously shouting "i love you women." so we'll see if that moves anything. at least what it demonstrated is that they got the message. they said, okay, we get it, we
have a huge problem with women voters right now, and at least we're trying to do something to address it. you can't tell in that reuters poll whether or not there's been much of a shift. we'll have to wait probably until the next few weeks to see if that moves at all. >> interesting point you make with jan brewer. i do remember governor romney as he was making his way down to make his speech, he did stop at the arizona delegation, give her a hug very quickly as he was moving on. so i did notice her there. anyway, michael, is there a single line in the romney speech or any memorable moment that might have some staying power with the independent voters? >> yeah, i think the very reaganesque line that he delivered in the middle of his speech, you know, to the effect of, you know, you really cannot say you're better off than you were and that the best feeling that you may have ever had about obama was the day you voted for him. and it's gone downhill ever since. that was a very effective line,
reminiscent of ronald reagan's famous shot at jimmy carter the 1980 election which eventually put him over the top in a landslide win. so i think, you know, that's the message that clearly the romney campaign wants to keep delivering, and i think you're going to hear it right up until the eve of november 6th, which is you really cannot say you're doing better now under this president than four years ago. >> ryan, let's turn to the democratic national convention next week in charlotte. what is the message that president obama has got to send across? >> sure. and to the bump, if you remember in 2008, president obama got a nice little bump in denver, which was wiped out by mccain and sarah palin in st. paul just a week later. so first of all they're hoping that happens, they're hoping if this is a real bump that they're seeing they'll be able to stop it and move forward. and that is the theme they're going to keep pushing, forward. they're going to say, yes, it's
been a hard three years. we came in here in the middle of a financial crisis, and we need to move forward with our policies rather than going back to the old policies that got us here in the first place. that you're going to keep hearing that over and over again, that it was tax cuts and deregulation that got us in the jam. so there's no reason to think more tax cuts and deregulation are going to get us out of it. >> yeah. >> and so that's what president obama is going to go for as well as, like you said, giving his typical very rousing speech to get the nation behind him. >> you know, ryan, i just want to quickly since you went to the historical perspective there, is it just always hard to be the first of the two conventions? that any bump you may get will be somewhat muted by the next week? >> right. yeah, they do like to -- you know, you would rather be the second convention, no question about it. you know, it's just the luck of the draw each time which party is going to wind up, which
candidate, will wind up going first or second. you're absolutely right. he gets a nice bump. he had the eyes of the nation on him. as you saw, he kind of reversed obama's lead. but, yes, now starting monday, tuesday, wednesday, thursday, it's going to be all democratic message, and then it's off into the debates and then into the election. so at this point you probably would rather be the obama campaign. >> looking ahead more to charlotte, michael, your new article is titled "southern bellwether." you asked this question, quote, does north carolina really resemble a river of progress, or is it more of a pendulum constantly swinging between the two poles, progressive versus traditionalist, that make up the state's unique demographics. can you answer that question? what did you find? >> well, i think it's very much hanging in the balance, alex. polls continue to show that the, despite very high 9.6% unemployment rate in north carolina, obama and romney are fairly deadlocked. i've talked to both campaigns in
the state recently, both acknowledge it's too close to call. so it's a very interesting divide in north carolina. it's not a typical southern state, yet, at the same time, it's one that even the romney campaign can concedes it really has to win along with florida and virginia, the only other southern battleground states. so i think as someone said to me for that article, this is really going to be a little bit of the canary in the mine for romney early on the night of november 6th, as we expect what's going to be a close election, which way north carolina goes could very well determine which way the overall election goes. >> michael hirsh and ryan grim, thanks so much. >> thank you, alex. here's what we've been asking you all. did the republican convention change anyone's mind? we've gotten a lot of responses. here are just some of them. the rnc did after the way many think of mitt romney, however i do believe it's simply the excitement of the convention. out of the convention the only two speeches that made me think was ann romney and rice.
the rest were really sad. no, it made me realize the democratic party has more to offer to the american people. not really. mitt fix-it-all romney did not supply any specific plans/ideas on how he's going to fix anything. hardly. it reaffirmed my vote for nou more years for barack obama. better the devil that you know than the one you don't. my heavens. keep talking on twitter. americans never paid so much for gas on labor day weekend. but why? plus, a 32-can salute to an icon of american pop art. you're watching "weekends with alex witt "oixt and two pills. afternoon's overhaul starts with more pain. more pills. triple checking hydraulics. the evening brings more pain. so, back to more pills. almost done, when... hang on. stan's doctor recommended aleve. it can keep pain away all day with fewer pills than tylenol.
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event that gets under way tuesday. high gas prices and heavy traffic top our big three money headlines. one, labor day getaway, back to school boost, pantry pop-art. our economy analyst and author of black market billions joins me. let's talk about millions because we don't have billions fortunately to hit the road this weekend. despite having to pay more at the pump, did hurricane isaac drive up the gas prices? and are they going to come down anytime soon? >> well, right, we're talking about millions in hurricane isaac. about 33 million people are going to be out on the road for lar day, and, really, those -- everyone thinks that isaac drove those prices up. those prices were going up anyway, and the reason why is because in early august there were a bunch of refinery fires, one happened in california. there were with shutdowns and pipeline shutdowns in the midwest. those incidents actually drove the prices up a little bit and
they were trying to come down when isaac hit. so when isaac hit, that drove the price up maybe ten cents more to now the national average of $3.80. so that's what constitutes for the highest gas prices we've seen this labor day weekend. but, according to analysts, even though 28% of the u.s. oil production comes out of the gulf, that's going to come down because these companies are now starting to open up. they're going to start production up again. so we'll see those gas prices definitely come down. >> okay. what is fueling a boom in the back-to-school time shopping? and do you think this is a sign of things that will hold and be good for the retailers during the holiday season? >> well, i'll tell you, it's one thing, those parents all summer long, kind of cutting back and not spending a lot in the summer months. so, while sales weren't so robust during the summer, in september they went gangbusters, bought a lot of stuff especially at stores like gap and nordstrom. same store sales for the month of august were up 6.1%, the largest they've seen, this
increa increase, for almost ten years according to thompson reuters. now, what was really pushing this, as well as the fact they were saving up and finally started spending, was also the new fashion cycle. as you walk down the street, there are a bunch of bright-colored jeans and t-shirts in the windows. i think that's what people really to come in and spend. the real issue is if these sales will be able to sustain through the holiday. >> what about campbell's soup's iconic red and white label? that's getting andy warhol treatment. >> alex doesn't everyone want their pantries to look like the home i know i do. for the anniversary of andy warhol's campbell's 32 cans of campbell's soup, the name of the piece, target is issuing is going to be the specific retailer to be selling these new campbell's soups. they are going to be decorated like the andy warhol painting and they'll be costing 75 cents per can. they're going to be collector's items so 75 cents just to have
an iconic painting in your pantry, i would say yes to that. >> okay. thank you so much. >> thanks for having me. in today's ups and downs, song sung blue and anger pays off. but first pet owners seem to have plenty of room noir hearts and wallets for their furry loved ones. strong sales at pet smart stores, since the financial crisis has begun, the stock price has tripled. facebook's falling stock, it's lost half its value since it went public in may. worse yet, prices could tumble further in november when employees can start selling their shares. it. the battle of the smartphone intensifies, samsung unveiling its newest device as did sony. motorola the so-called iphone 5 comes out later this month. "the avenger oiz "started the summer box office with a record opening and $600 billion
haul, but overall variety reports movie makers will make about 3% less that summer. he really is winning again. ratings for charlie sheen's new series have been so good that fx is ordering 90 more episodes of "anger management "oixt because of that, sheen stands to make $100 million. wow! ♪ we could have it all and adelle is making a mint off melancholy music but she's not alone. a new study says sad songs have become increasingly popular. researchers find a increase in the sadness starting in the '60s. this video will lift your spirits, really popular on youtube right now, but you don't have to have a baby to find a dog eating bubbles a hoot and a half. that is so cute. those are your ups and downs. the calcium they take because they don't take it with food. switch to citracal maximum plus d.
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welcome back to "weekends with alex witt." at 31 past the hour, the fast five headlines, dramatic video in aleppo, syria, and the stalemate over that country's biggest city. meanwhile, reports of government shelling in damascus. in this country, federal prosecutors say arizona sheriff joe arpaio will not face charges after a probe into alleged misconduct. a civil rights lawsuit continues against him. new security measures take effect in downtown charlotte, north carolina, ahead of tuesday's conventions. protections forbid people from carrying water bottles, hair spray, magic markers and even socks into the main business district. in chicago, a third person has died from legionen air's disease. the outbreak is led to the main fountain in the lobby of a downtown hotel. that fountain has been removed. seven other hotel guests also have legionnaires. the health department has contacted most of the 8500 guests who stayed at the hotel from mid-july to mid-august. no more swimming at some
beaches in chatham, massachusetts, after an increase in shark sightings, including seven on thursday. yikes! those are your fast five headlines. the remnants of isaac are moving north and bringing the threat of severe weather will and causing officials to cancel labor day celebrations but the storm dumps much-needed rain on drought-stricken states. weather channel's julie martin is in taylorsville illinois. >> reporter: the remnants of isaac have finally delivered what farmers in t midwest have been begging for for months, and that is much-needed rain. unfortunately, not a drought buster and the damage is already done in terms of this year's corn crop. you can see here at this farm the franklin farm in taylorville, illinois, the stalks are very dry and the corn is either diseased or in bad shape. and the farmer here, ken franklin, tells me that, yeah, this will help a little bit on some levels. it will recharge the ground soil a little bit. it will bring the water tables up. and it will possibly even help boost the size of his soybean
crop. but it is certainly not going to dig out the drought situation for the corn farmers, all across the midwest. however, what we're expecting from isaac, the remnants of isaac, throughout the day today in through tomorrow, those will be moving through the midwest all the way over toward the ohio valley, possibly producing some severe weather along the way. in fact, this labor day weekend cities like indianapolis have canceled the parade and some of the associated events out of fear for flooding and severe weather. so, with this could come flash flooding, but we're not expecting anything like what we saw certainly this week, the devastation there along the gulf. reporting from taylorville, indiana, i'm meteorologist julie martin. alex, back to you. >> julie, thank you so much. new today, president obama's marking the second anniversary of the end of the iraq war in his weekly address. >> while the war itself remains a source of controversy here at home, one thing will never be in doubt -- the members of our armed forces are patriots in every sense of
the word. they met every mission and performed every task that was asked of them with precision, commitment and skill. >> well, the president spent friday at ft. bliss in texas praising the soldier for their work in defeating saddam hussein and helping rebuild iraq. president obama is on the cover of the new "time" magazine, the issue coming out just before the democratic national convention. the interof interview is about what president obama knows now after his first term and as he's running for a second. the president gave "time "the interview on air force one. joining me is adam sorensen, associate editor of "time." glad you're here. this is a big article. >> thanks for having me. >> the title of the article is "what he knows now: obama on popularity, partisanship and getting things done in washington." what surprised you the most? what stood out the most to you? >> i think what's really amazing is see how much his rhetoric has changed over the last four years. 2008, he was talking about hope, change, healing the planet.
now he describes what needs to happen after the election akin to popping the blister. >> the president said in this wide-ranging interview that he believes that one of the good things about this election, here's the quote, it's going to give voters a very clear choice. gauge the level of optimism that you sensed. >> i think that there's a certain amount of optimism he needs to convince vote errs that there's more work to be done and there's more work that he can do in another four years in office. but i also think that he has a big job, you know, to convince voters that things were really bad four years ago and things are still bad and that they need him to bring them out of it. at the same time, he really does need to blame the republicans for preventing him from getting more done. >> so you think he'll play a lot of the momentum card and say, you can't change the play mid-game? >> i don't know about that. i mean, you know, i think that he has to say that republicans need to change, that he's the one doing the right thing, and that they can stick with what
they've been doing, but it requires more cooperation in washington to do get it done. >> to that end, the president said, i still believe that that's what the american people are looking for, solveti proble. do you think he's going to stress his problem-solving capabilities and really point the finger at the republicans? do you think there will be a negative tone, a nasty tone, or just a, hey, let's take a look at the record tone? >> i think they have to get both done. he needs voters to think positively about what he has gotten done. health care not the most popular bill and he can address that at the convention. but he regularly reminds voters of how bad things were when he took over in 2008. >> but is that a winning strategy? don't people get sick of hearing, four years later, while it may be factually correct, you sort of get tired of hearing that. okay, but what have you done to fix it? >> you know, it's really the only option he has. he's boxed in somewhat. he did get some things done. he does strongly believe that he avoided a depression and did
make progress. but, at the same time, you can't tell people that things are wonderful now, you know, because with so many americans out of work, they just don't believe it. >> when you mentioned earlier the quote of president obama saying this is like popping a blister, what did he mean by that? how did you interpret that? >> i can't read the president's mind, but what i think he meant is this, republicans have taken an obstructionist strategy in washington, that they've really, from the get-go, have tried to prevent obama from clean claiming victories are regularly in congress. so i think what he's hoping -- and i don't know how realistically this is -- if he wins a second term, mitch mcconnell, the senate majority leaders, his famous line, the republicans' number one job is to keep obama to one term. na hope is gone, if he can win a second term, republicans will change tacks, that they will say, okay, we will work with you. again, maybe that's a little bit naive, but i think that's what he believes. >> okay. did you get any sense about the president's opinion on mitt romney? >> i didn't.
you know, mitt romney was not actually a huge topic of conversation in this interview. it was more about the president and the last four years. but the impression i get that obama has about mitt romney is really he respected john mccain a lot and even as tough as the 2008 election was, i think he's beginning to feel quite bitter about mitt romney in the middle of this election. he feels that mitt romney is treating him unfairly and distorting his points of view and things -- some things he's done through congress and the white house. so i don't know. i would say that he's definitely ready to fight a very hard election. >> okay. "time"'s adam sorensen. thank you so much. >> thank you for having me. this monday night 10:00 a.m. eastern msnbc will air an hour-long documentary on president obama, hosted by chris matthews "barack obama making history". >> i barack hussein obama do slemly swear -- >> the grand expectations of
this historic occasion were clashing with the fierce urgency of the challenges. >> starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking america. >> probably no one since roosevelt has entered office with that sense of crisis, that sense of burden. >> the problems waiting for him on the oval office desk included two wars, a broken health care system, an economy on the verge of collapse, millions facing morrow closure, a jobless rate spiking relentlessly sky ward. >> tomorrow we're expecting another dismal jobs report on top of the 2.6 million jobs we lost last year. we've lost 500,000 jobs each month for the last two months. >> but, while all agreed on its ferocity, the crisis failed to unite, polarized the country. despite a highly vocal opposition, the president managed to push through the biggest economic stimulus in miss history.
>> there you go. it's done. >> the stimulus and the $80 billion auto rescue that followed burned through much of the political capital obama had hoped to cash for health care reform, a key promise he had made to the american people. >> madam speaker -- >> the president of the united states! >> but with the economy still on shaky ground, obama decided this was an issue he feeded to take on early in his presidency or forfeit it entirely. >> the time for bickering is over. the time for games has passed. now is the season for action. now is when we must bring the best ideas of both parties together and show the american people that we can still do what we were sent here to do. now is the time to deliver on health care. >> again, we invite all of you to watch the premiere of "barack obama making history" monday night 10:00 p.m. here on msnbc.
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>> it depends on how the democratic convention goes, but that the benefit of being the party in power, in this case the democrats have the white house so they get to have their convention second. so we think that president obama will probably come with a bounce in the polls to start the fall campaign. but i'd also add this -- despite the republican convention was widely considered a success, two big things we're talking about this morning include clint eastwood's widely panned performance and also the omission of the war in afghanistan and troops in terrorist in mitt romney's speech. of course that creates a big opening for president obama next week. >> we'll get to clint eastwood in a second. but karen i want to play one of mitt rom necessary's most talked about lines in the speech. i know you know it. >> hope and change had a powerful appeal. but tonight i'd ask a simple question -- if you felt that excitement when you voted for barack obama, shouldn't you feel that way now that he's president obama?
you flow's something wrong with the kind of job he's done as president when the best feeling you had was the day you voted for him. >> so, karen, as you weigh all that has transpired in the president's 3 1/2 years in office, do you think that is at all true for some independent voters? i mean, is there an enthusiasm gap? >> well, i think it's true that there are voters who are frustrated. they cob moderate democrats, moderate republicans, more conservative democrats, independents. we've known that for some time so that's not news. we also know that the republicans have made this part of their strategy, not only in that line, which was a very slick, well-done line, we've seen ads where the rnc runs, it's okay if you got fooled, don't worry about it. even karl rove was reportedly telling donors, hey, we've got to realize these voters like president obama so we've got to
be careful how we try to get their vote. what i would say is, i want democrats to take that very seriously and not take anything for granted. but remind people, this is the same guy who went into this convention making a joke about not asking about his birth certificate, has no problem lying about the president's record. that's the work we have to do when confronted with that slick rhetoric. >> now to the clint eastwood factor, susan. it's been a day and a half, two traditional news cycles now, clint eastwood still on the front page of "the washington post's" web site and the "new york times," too, in fact. even if this has no long-lasting residual effects, did mitt romney's message get dimmed at al all. >> probably not so much. he had a speech widely reviewed. we're going into labor day weekend. there wouldn't have been much coverage. this is kind of where people tune out, their last hoorah for summer. i don't expect it to have real effect. was it an ideal situation? absolutely not. but at the end of the day it
won't really matter. >> let's go to the next topic with you, karen. we move on to the road to charlotte. mitt romney focused on the economy a lot. how does the president message a slow economy? >> well, i think what the president does is lay out, again, his vision for the second term, which i think he doesn't get enough credit for the fact that he has been talking about his record and those things. and i think the very fact dhash erin also mentioned talking about, we can't forget our troops in iraq and afghanistan and the war on terror. so i think if he lays out a fuller picture of where we are, where our country is and where he wants to go, that will i think highlight the deficit that we saw in mitt romney's speech. >> susan, do you think that mitt romney left an opening by not addressing afghanistan during the rnc? ff i think as erin said before, by going first you always leaves openings. it's going to definitely be to president obama's advantage.
and, yes, i actually do think that was something that was sorely missing in his speech. >> erin, what does president obama need to say? what is the message he needs to his speech. >> what does president obama need to convey at the convention? >> he has not said enough and he needs to lay out the full picture of what his vision is for a second term. >> how confident are you that the president is going to be able to do that and overcome what i was talking about with my last guest which is not looking back to four years ago, because a lot of times people would say, okay, we understand you took a pretty tough situation over, but it has been four years. >> well, that's exactly right. and again, i think that's part of why i think the president is going to be really much more laying out, here's where we are and here's what we need to do. here's what i want to do if a second term. i feel very confident the president will be able to do that. just one thing i would remind you, it's always hard to unseat
an incumbent and this is part of why these likeability numbers are so important because you're asking people to sort of switch horses in the middle of the game. we know that people like the president, they trust the president, they think he understands their issues and he understands the problems even if they're not sure they like sort of what -- where we are at this point. mitt romney already has a much higher hurdle to overcome to convince people to completely scrap the investment they made in president obama. >> that's exactly the problem for president obama, he can't run on his current record because unemployment is still very high, people are still facing very tough times. the way that mitt romney is going to win this election is going to be only if it's a referendum on president obama, and that's why president obama's team has been trying to take them off message for the last several weeks, and franking was successful. >> i don't think republicans have had to do much taking the message off. with clint eastwood at their
side, they've done a pretty good job. >> but he didn't talk much about the economy. >> he talks about it all the time. he talks about the economy and job creation. >> at the end of the day, any bump that he will probably get, and i think he will get one out of the convention, will all disappear depending on those job numbers and those job numbers is exactly what this election is going to be about. >> we talk about this week's best and worst and that's next. erin will be up first. (cat purring)
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we are back with the big three and it's time for this week's best and worst. let's bring back erin, karen and susan. erin, as we hit the best and worst this week, we'll start with you. >> the winner was condoleezza rice. what i heard from a number of republicans in tampa is she has fully rehabd her political image and set herself up for a run for office if she wants to.
and the loser, not shockingly, is clint eastwood. >> i gave the winner to ann romney. i think she did a great job in her acceptance speech and made a great rollout for the rest of the campaign. the loser i gave to sheldon silver who used over $100,000 in taxpayer money to make a secret payout on a sexual harassment case against a fellow colleague, so he really had a bad week. >> wow, that one kind of slipped under the national radar. you may have just put that one out there, susan. he's like, that means next week is going to be worst. karen, what about yours? >> to me the winners were voters in the states of texas and ohio where these important decisions came down to block the efforts of republicans to disenfranchise voters. hopefully those decisions will stand. and i got to say, clint eastwood definitely loser. the other one, though, since it's already been picked is paul ryan whose speech had been panned day after day after day
for just being full of holes and lies. >> thanks, you guys. thanks so much. always good to see the three of you. have a good weekend. speaking of good weekends, that wraps up this weekend with alex witt show. i hope you guys have a great weekend holiday. there's one bry more emergency workers trust in their maglites: duracell. one reason: duralock power preserve. it locks in power for up to 10 years in storage. guaranteed. so, whether it's 10 years' of life's sunny days... or... the occasional stormy one... trust goes a long way. duracell with duralock. trusted everywhere.
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